Despite being included on Wham!’s second album “Make It Big” from 1984 and co-credited to his bandmate and friend Andrew Ridgeley, reportedly the song was composed uniquely by George Michael
“Careless Whisper”, the debut solo single of George Michael climbs the charts in 1984
Released as his debut solo single on 24 July 1984, “Careless Whisper” by George Michael remains one of his signature songs. Despite being included on Wham!’s second album “Make It Big” from 1984 and co-credited to his bandmate and friend Andrew Ridgeley, for years the song was thought as reportedly being composed uniquely by George Michael and generously co-credited to Ridgeley to secure his friend financial future, but on the Netflix documentary “Wham”” released in 2023 Ridgeley clarified that the song was written by both and it was the first one they wrote as a band. The official story goes as Michael and Ridgeley writing the song when they were 17, taking inspiration from stories from Michael’s early romantic overtures. Michael explained in his autobiography, “Bare”, that much of the song’s content is based on events from his childhood. He also stated how he came up with the catchy and iconic sax line: “I was on my way to DJ at the Bel Air when I wrote “Careless Whisper”. I have always written on buses, trains and in cars. It always happens on journeys. With “Careless Whisper” I remember EXACTLY where it first came to me, where I came up with the sax line. I can remember very vaguely where I was when I wrote things after Wham! got off the ground–but with “Careless Whisper” I remember exactly the time and place. I know it sounds really weird and a kind of romantic thing to say–but I remember exactly where it happened, where I was sitting on the bus, how I continued and everything. I remember I was handing the money over to the guy on the bus and I got this line, the sax line: der-der-der-der, der-der-der-der. Then he moved away and I continued writing it in my head. I wrote it totally in my head. I worked on it for about three months in my head.” The song was a huge success worldwide for George Michael, bu despite it, he was never fond of the song. He said in 1991 that it “was not an integral part of my emotional development…it disappoints me that you can write a lyric very flippantly—and not a particularly good lyric—and it can mean so much to so many people. That’s disillusioning for a writer” On August 18, 1984, “Careless Whisper” peaked to No.1 at the UK singles charts, and also topped the charts worldwide that year. The popular music video for the song, was filmed on location in Miami, Florida, in 1984, portraying Michael as a young man thorn between two lovers, and features such locales as Coconut Grove and Watson Island. The final part of the video shows Michael leaning out of a balcony at the last floor of Miami’s Grove Towers. The music video contributed to his 1980’s sex symbol image, despite his young age at the time it was filmed, only 21.
Look back at the 1984 music video “Careless Whisper” by George Michael
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